Dec 22, 2013 at 11am UK at ​Estadi Cornellà-El Prat
Espanyol
4-2
Real Valladolid
Garcia (5' pen.), Stuani (37', 70'), Sanchez (68')
Sanchez (8'), Rafael Fuentes (27'), Simao (51')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Guerra (75'), Perez (89')
Rueda (5')

Live Commentary: Espanyol 4-2 Real Valladolid - as it happened

Espanyol head coach Javier Aguirre reacts on the touchline during the match against Valencia on August 24, 2013
© Getty Images
Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash at the El-Prat where Espanyol beat Real Valladolid 4-2.
Espanyol welcomed Real Valladolid to the El-Prat on Sunday knowing that three points would move them into ninth spot in the La Liga table.

The home side took the lead after just five minutes when Sergio Garcia notched his seventh league goal of the season from the penalty spot, before Christian Stuani made it 2-0 five minutes before the interval.

Espanyol had their third 20 minutes from time when Victor Sanchez curled one into the top corner, before Stuani made it 4-0 moments later.

Javi Guerra scored his 11th league goal of the season late on for the away side, before Victor Perez made it 4-2, but it was a case of too little too late for Valladolid.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

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10.31amMorning all! Our La Liga live coverage for the day opens from the El-Prat as Espanyol welcome Real Valladolid. The home side have struggled following a positive start to the season, but they still sit in 13th position on 19 points. Valladolid, meanwhile, moved out of the relegation zone with three points against Celta Vigo last weekend.

10.34amIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, four of the last five matches have ended in draws, with Espanyol picking up the solitary win during that period in October 2010. As mentioned, the corresponding match last season ended in a goalless draw, while the points were also shared in a 1-1 draw at Valladolid in October 2012.

10.37amTEAMS:

ESPANYOL: Casilla; Fuentes, Colotto, Moreno, J Lopez; Simao, Sanchez, V Lopez, Stuani; Garcia, Cordoba

REAL VALLADOLID: Marino; Rukavina, Valiente, Rueda, Pena; Bergdich, Rubio, Rossi, Ebert; Oscar, Guerra

10.40amSo there we have it. Espanyol boss Javier Aguirre continues with Sergio Garcia, Christian Stuani and Jhon Cordoba in attack. There are also starts for Simao and Victor Sanchez in midfield. Valladolid, meanwhile, recall Oscar to their starting XI, with Larsson dropping to the bench. Patrick Ebert had been a doubt with a muscular injury, but the German is fit enough to start.

10.43amIt is difficult to be too critical of Espanyol and in particular boss Javier Aguirre, who took charge last season with the club bottom of the table. They have no such fears at this stage of the campaign, but results have suffered in recent weeks. They are safely through to the fifth round of the Copa del Rey, however, after overcoming Real Jaen 4-2 on aggregate.

10.46amAguirre’s side have won five of their 16 matches, drawing four and losing seven. Their home form has been fairly patchy with three wins, two draws and three defeats, while they have scored just nine times during their eight games at home. That said, a win this afternoon would move them into ninth spot in the table.

10.49amGoals have been a slight problem for Espanyol this season with just 18 in their 16 matches. Sergio Garcia has scored six of those, but their skipper has struggled for consistent form. Valladolid, meanwhile, have scored 19 times, but 10 of those have come from Javi Guerra. Down the other end, Espanyol have conceded 21 times to Valladolid’s 25.

10.52amAs mentioned, Valladolid moved out of the relegation zone last weekend with a 3-0 win over Celta Vigo. That result left them in 17th spot in the table, but they are just one point outside of the bottom three. They have relied on Javi Guerra for goals, meanwhile, with the Spaniard notching 10 times in the league after 16 games.

10.55amValladolid’s away form this season has been poor with just one win from their eight matches, drawing three times and losing four. However, they have also lost three times on their own patch. Their chances of survival this season depends on whether they can keep Guerra and Ebert clear of injuries and indeed keep the talented pair at the club.

10.58amPREDICTION: Neither manager has picked a conservative XI, which points to an open attacking affair. That will suit the home side with the pace of Cordoba, but in Bergdich and Ebert, Valladolid have plenty of guile on the counter attack. I am going to sit on the fence for this one and back a 2-2 draw.

1 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if we indeed have one - could be vital. The home side get the action underway as morning becomes afternoon in Barcelona.

2 minNot a full house inside the stadium this afternoon, but there is a strong atmosphere. It must be said that the pitch is in perfect condition for this stage of the season. Not too much to report in the early exchanges, but Espanyol have taken control of the possession. An early free kick arrives for the home side, but Simao's delivery is headed clear by Alvaro Rubio.

4 minGood pressure from the home side as Cordoba wins a flick-on inside the Valladolid box, but Pena is across to clear the danger. The away side have the chance to counter moments later, but the move breaks down in the middle of the park. Good intensity to the opening four minutes of this La Liga contest.

4 minPENALTY TO ESPANYOL!

4 minEspanyol are awarded a penalty after four minutes as Stuani is felled by Rueda inside the box. Garcia will have the chance to send his side into the lead.

5 minGOAL! Espanyol 1-0 Real Valladolid (Garcia, pen)

6 minGarcia makes no mistake as the Espanyol skipper thumps his effort into the top corner for his seventh league goal of the season. It is the worst possible start for Valladolid, who could enter the winter break in the bottom three depending on other results.

8 minStrong response from Valladolid as Valiente finds some space down the right before delivering a dangerous cross into the Espanyol box, but Colotto is on hand to clear under pressure from Guerra. It is important that the away side do not concede another in the next five minutes or so.

10 minValladolid continue to threaten as Guerra spins on the edge of the box before finding Ebert, but the German midfielder is crowded out at the final moment. Espanyol look for the quick counter down the other end with Cordoba, but Rukavina just has enough pace to force it back to his goalkeeper. High-tempo opening 10 minutes to this La Liga contest in Barcelona.

13 minHalf-chance for Guerra to score his 11th league goal of the season as he meets a cross from Ebert, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. Simao has a snap-shot down the other end after good work from Cordoba, but his powerful effort is blocked by Pena at the vital moment.

15 minGuerra is once more the target for the away side as Rossi picks the pocket of Simao before sliding a pass towards the Spanish forward, but Colotto is across to clear the danger. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last few moments with both sides struggling to find that elusive pass in the final third.

17 minHalf-chance for Stuani this time as the Espanyol forward finds some space outside the Valladolid box, but his effort is straight into the arms of Marino. Valladolid have a free kick down the other end moments later, but Guerra cannot meet Pena's cross at the near post. End-to-end football with 17 minutes on the clock.

19 minJust a reminder that this is the last set of La Liga fixtures before the winter break in Spain. Barcelona and Real Madrid are both in action later this evening - be sure to remain with us and you will not miss a moment. Cordoba's pace creates some space in the Valladolid box, but the pacey striker cannot find Garcia with a flick, allowing Pena to clear the danger.

22 minSlightly untidy period of the match in the last couple of moments with the referee forced to intervene following a number of late challenges. Ebert manages to find a cross into the Espanyol box after some strong work from the German, but Moreno is across to clear the danger. Just a few signs that Valladolid are starting to warm to their task as Bergdich threatens with a late run into the box.

24 minValladolid are forced into an early change here as Omar Ramos replaces Ebert. That is a big blow for the away side. As mentioned, the German's fitness is key to their survival hopes this season. He is one of the most talented midfielders in the league. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments, but Valladolid are enjoying plenty of possession.

26 minHalf-chance for Omar Ramos as the Valladolid attacker is found by Pena inside the Espanyol box, but the Spaniard cannot make proper contact at the far post. Omar delivers a dangerous cross towards Guerra moments later, but Casilla is on hand to collect. Still 1-0 Espanyol with 26 minutes on the clock.

29 minThe referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of a number of late challenges. Another half-chance arrives for Espanyol as Garcia loops a cross into the Valladolid box, but Cordoba is beaten to the ball by Marino. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining.

31 minNot too much to report in terms of clear chances in the last couple of minutes, but both sides are committing numbers in the final third. Guerra remains the main outlet for Valladolid, but has struggled for service thus far. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could be decisive.

33 minCHANCE! Opportunity for Espanyol to score their second as Victor Sanchez finds some space outside the box before attempting to find the bottom corner, but Marino is across to make a fine save at the vital moment. Still 1-0 Espanyol with little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining.

35 minGood pressure from Valladolid in the last couple of moments with Pena and Bergdich both offering width, but the service into the box has not been of the required standard. You just get the feeling that Manucho could be introduced to play alongside Guerra in the second period. That will surely be the case if the score remains the same around the hour mark.

37 minPossession football from Valladolid in the last couple of moments, but they are struggling to find that elusive pass in the final third. In truth, there have been few chances in the opening 37 minutes of football. The only goal came after five minutes when Garcia converted from the penalty spot. Little over five minutes of the first period remaining at the El-Prat.

37 minGOAL! Espanyol 2-0 Real Valladolid (Stuani)

38 minEspanyol score their second of the match after 37 minutes as Stuani lifts his effort over the onrushing Marino from close range. Smart finish from the striker.

40 minLittle over five minutes of the first period remaining with Espanyol leading 2-0. Bergdich attempts to take matters into his own hands for Valladolid as he collects possession outside the box, but his effort is blocked by Moreno at the vital moment.

43 minHalf-chance for Cordoba as the Espanyol forward finds some space outside the box, but his effort is straight into the arms of Marino from close range. Valladolid break down the other end with Omar Ramos, but the Spaniard cannot find a finish under pressure from Casilla.

45 minYou just get the feeling that Valladolid need to score the next goal if they are to take something from this match. A third for Espanyol and it would be fair to consider it game over. The away side just need to be a little bit careful at the moment as they continue to fly into challenges in the middle of the park.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Espanyol 2-0 Real Valladolid

11.48amSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Espanyol leading 2-0 at the interval. The home side took the lead after just five minutes when Sergio Garcia notched his seventh league goal of the season from the penalty spot, before Christian Stuani made it 2-0 five minutes before the interval.

11.53amSTATISTICS: Valladolid have dominated the possession with 59%, but they have had just four attempts to Espanyol's eight. The away side have also managed just one shot on target to Espanyol's five. In truth, Espanyol certainly deserve to be leading at this stage of proceedings. Valladolid have found it difficult to create opportunities thus far.

11.58amBENCH WATCH: The home side have a number of attacking options on their bench in the shape of Bifouma, Torje and Alex. Meanwhile, Valladolid have the likes of Manucho, Baraja, Larsson and Sastre in reserve. The away side have already been forced into a change, however, with Omar Ramos replacing the injured Ebert.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. As it stands, Espanyol would move into ninth position in the table. Valladolid, meanwhile, could drop into the bottom three depending on other results this afternoon. Right, the home side get the second period underway in Barcelona.

48 minNo changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise. However, I suspect that will change if Valladolid do not find a way back into the match in the next 10 minutes or so. Early half-chance for Garcia as the Espanyol skipper finds some space outside the box, but he can only curl his effort wide of the post. That would have been game, set and match.

50 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Espanyol to score their third as a corner from Simao causes all sorts of problems inside the Valladolid box, but Omar Ramos manages to clear a header from Stuani at the vital moment. Valladolid have not been allowed to gain any sort of possession in the second period thus far.

53 minEspanyol continue to force the issue as Garcia drives down the right before delivering a low cross into the box, but Rukavina is on hand to clear the danger at the vital moment. If Valladolid are not careful, this match will be taken away from them. The home supporters can sense a third here as they continue to raise the noise levels inside the stadium.

55 minWe are getting to the stage in the match when Valladolid will surely be thinking about changes. They have hardly featured in the second period thus far, with Espanyol dominating proceedings. Former Manchester United striker Manucho would be the obvious candidate to lend support to Guerra in the final third.

57 minHalf-chance for the home side as David Lopez embarks on a sensational run before finding Stuani inside the box, but his effort is straight into the arms of the goalkeeper. Valladolid are down the other end with Bergdich moments later, but his effort is wide of the post. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining in this La Liga contest.

59 minValladolid make their first change of the match as Rubio is replaced by Victor Perez. Espanyol respond with a change of their own as Raul Rodriquez enters the field in place of David Lopez, who appeared to be struggling with a knee injury. Stop-start period of the match in the last couple of moments.

62 minEspanyol make their second change in quick succession as Cordoba is replaced by Alex Fernandez. That is an indication that Javier Aguirre wants to close up the space in midfield. The series of changes have interrupted the tempo, which is not good news for Valladolid. Time is running out for the away side as they attempt to turn this match around.

64 minCHANCE! Opportunity for Espanyol to score their third as Garcia breaks beyond the Valladolid defence, but the home side's skipper can only fire his effort high and wide of the crossbar. That would have surely secured all the points. Little over 25 minutes of football remaining in this La Liga contest.

66 minValladolid make their third and final change as Larsson replaces Rueda, who has struggled to influence proceedings this afternoon. Guerra remains the main threat for the away side as he finds some space inside the Espanyol box before striking towards goal, but Colotto is on hand to make the clearance. Better from the visitors.

68 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments with both sides struggling to find that elusive pass in the final third. The onus is on Valladolid to produce the goods, but Guerra remains isolated in the final third. It is a surprise that Manucho has not been called upon. Good possession for Valladolid in the last couple of moments, but no real opportunities.

68 minGOAL! Espanyol 3-0 Real Valladolid (Sanchez)

69 minEspanyol score their third and surely secure all three points as Victor Sanchez collects a loose ball on the edge of the box before curling a wonderful effort into the top corner.

70 minIt is perhaps harsh on Valladolid, but Espanyol have been the more threatening in the final third. The loss of Ebert in the early stages hurt the away side and they have not looked as potent without the German midfielder on the field. Little under 20 minutes of football remaining in this La Liga contest.

70 minGOAL! Espanyol 4-0 Real Valladolid (Stuani)

71 minEspanyol score their fourth of the afternoon as Stuani notches his fourth league goal of the season with a close-range finish following a wonderful cross from Sanchez. Valladolid could be on the end of a real hiding here.

74 minEspanyol are not finished as they continue to force the issue in the final third. Stuani, who is on a hat-trick, combines with Garcia before driving into the box, but Pena is across to clear the danger at the vital moment. It would be a surprise if we did not see at least one more goal in the final 15 minutes or so.

75 minGOAL! Espanyol 4-1 Real Valladolid (Guerra)

76 minGuerra has a consolation for the away side as he loops a header into the back of the net from close range. That is his 11th league goal of the season. That forces Espanyol into their third and final change as Victor Alvarez replaces Simao.

78 minThe referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of committing a number of challenges. In fairness to Valladolid, they have not crumbled after falling 4-0 behind. Bergdich has an effort from outside the box moments later, but Casilla makes the save.

81 minValladolid continue to force the issue as Omar Ramos delivers a deep cross towards Guerra, but this time the Spaniard can only head into the arms of the Espanyol goalkeeper. Just a reminder that Barcelona and Real Madrid are both in action later this afternoon/evening - be sure to join us and you will not miss a moment. Right, little under 10 minutes of football remaining.

83 minFuentes threatens for the home side as he delivers a deep cross into the Valladolid box, but Marino is on hand to collect under pressure from Stuani. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments with Espanyol prepared to keep possession of the ball. The home side will move into ninth position in the table following this match.

85 minHalf-chance for Valladolid as Rossi spots the run of Guerra inside the Espanyol box, but the latter had just moved into an offside position. Just a reminder that this set of La Liga fixtures are the last of 2013. The action does not resume until 2014 as the winter break occurs in Spain. Little over five minutes of football remaining in Barcelona.

88 minThe home supporters have just started to make their way towards the exits as the match enters its latter stages. Half-chance for Garcia to score his second as the Espanyol skipper breaks beyond the Valladolid defence, but Marino is out to collect at the vital moment.

89 minGOAL! Espanyol 4-2 Real Valladolid (Perez)

90 minValladolid have their second of the match as Perez curls a free kick into the bottom corner from just outside the box. It might have taken the slightest deflection, but Casilla should have done better.

90+3 minThe referee indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the third of those. Espanyol are heading for three points, but some of their defending has been poor this afternoon. Omar has an opportunity following a Guerra cross, but heads just wide of the target.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Espanyol 4-2 Real Valladolid

12.51pmSo there we have it. Espanyol move into ninth spot in the table with a 4-2 win over Real Valladolid. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join me again from 3.30pm for Getafe against Barcelona. Until then!

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Tables
TeamPGDPTS
1Atletico Madrid345285
2Barcelona346681
3Real Madrid336279
4Athletic Bilbao342262
5Sevilla341859
6Real Sociedad34754
7Villarreal341252
8Valencia34045
9Espanyol34-641
10Malaga34-641
11Levante34-1141
12Celta Vigo34-1140
13Rayo Vallecano34-2940
14Granada34-2037
15Elche34-1935
16Osasuna34-2535
17Real Valladolid33-1832
18Getafe34-2232
19Almeria34-3230
20Real Betis34-4022